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The Six Principles of Brand Persuasion

Here are six principles to enhance the persuasiveness of your brand experience.

Connecting, engaging, and bonding with customers is becoming increasingly more complex constantly for companies. If one or another of these principles is incorporated into a request, it significantly increases the probability of getting a yes to that request.

With the evolution and increasing complexity of Brand Experiences and consumer habits, marketers face new challenges that force brand design agencies like Bordwalk to venture outside of the typical fundamental brand design habits to create experiential experiences to create more engaging, persuasive experiences. The speed of innovation in technology and its potential in automating customer relationships makes it easy for brand stewards to get distracted with what matters: people, their attitudes, feelings and behaviour.

Significant challenges brands face is how to stay ahead of the constantly evolving and ever-changing environment, while remembering what really matters.

Bordwalk is a leading Brand Experience Design agency creating brands people love.

The importance of persuasion

To best describe the importance of persuasion: we build brands by shaping people’s attitudes, beliefs, and feelings towards the products, services, and causes we market, with the object to have them act in favour by purchasing our brands or joining our cause.

The art of persuasion in everything we do

Arguably the most significant part of marketing today is the realisation that almost every touchpoint a brand has, communicates a message. The old way of creating brands and marketing them involved designing a logo, website, mission statement, print collateral, and paying for placement. This method hammered what the brand offers as a product or service in minds but never really truly bonded or connected properly with consumers.

Recently, the marketing community finally moved towards a more consumer appropriate form of brand design. It was realised that every aspect of a brand could and should be used to create compelling brand experiences; creating meaningful and long-lasting relationships with customers.

Six principles of Brand Persuasion

Here are the six most important principles of Brand persuasion that can be used by brands and marketers. These principles have been extensively researched and have been successfully demonstrated in award-winning brand design in both the industry and by Bordwalk.

1. Reward

The most essential principle of any persuasion is reward (it can also be known as “benefit”). As humans, we are likely to change our attitudes, beliefs and behaviour if doing so for an award. Benefits all too often get boiled down to the actual product, thinking that the product adds value to a consumers life once they’ve made a purchase.

When creating a brand, it should be a key opportunity to look at the total brand experience as a way to reward its customers. Not only by “what” or “how” it says it but also at all touchpoints of the brand experience, thus enhancing the brand’s opportunity to connect with customers meaningfully.

For a brand to be rewarding, it can be physical, functional, psychological, emotional, experiential, social or a combination thereof. Each aspect of a brand can leverage the reward principle, including its communication.

2. Threat

The bi-polar opposite of the reward principle is the threat principle. We are more likely to change how we feel, our beliefs, attitudes and behaviour if we think that by not acting, it poses a threat to ourselves or those around us.

Threats can often be useful to create relevance to your brand by raising awareness for a problem both real or fictional that your consumers may not have been aware of. Threats can sometimes be a more powerful motivator than a reward. For example, Palm Oil. For years Palm Oil has been forever frowned upon, for which now companies are using the fact that they’re Palm Oil free to entice customers to purchase their product.

3. Expertise

Expertise is another powerful principle that can be leveraged to enhance the persuasiveness of your brand.

By definition, an expert is “a person who has special skill or knowledge in some particular field; specialist; authority” - Definition by

Expert persuasion can be highly persuasive, however, over time and due to the change in economics, politics and risk-adversity becoming the norm.

Expert persuasion used to be: i.e. people who have achieved awards, Italian pizzerias make the best pizzas, expression and demonstration of expertise. However, Customers now increasingly turn towards their peers, friends, and their neighbours for expert advice.

4. Liking

Do you ever change your beliefs, attitudes and actions if you like a person trying to influence you? Yes, it’s the same for brands; in fact, customers are more likely to do what you ask them to do if they like you than if they don’t like you.

Liking isn’t always a key fundamental to a brands success, but everything being equal, a brand with friends wins. Think about the brands you personally respect or admire. The chances are high that you like them better than their competitors. Creating likeability doesn’t necessarily mean being funny or doing some laughable advertising. Instead, specific elements can be shown to promote likeability. They are:

  1. Familiarity - Familiarity creates liking.
  2. Positive regards - We often like those who like us. For example, British Airways created a Love letter, “Made by Britain” advert; thanking and giving back to Britain for making the airline what it is today. May sound cheesy, but it works.
  3. Similarities - We tend to like those who are similar to us.
  4. Positive Associations - Creating positive associations is something that motivates consumers to buy. For example Mcdonalds sponsor sports events, charities and stand behind their provenance.
  5. Aesthetic Appeal - It’s not necessarily the most important, but your brand will always be preferred if it looks aesthetically more pleasing than your competitor’s. i.e. Apple

5. Scarcity

It is human nature to believe that if something is scarce, it’s valuable. And if it becomes scarcer, it becomes even more valuable. Think Apple Device Launches, gas, caviar and Fiji Water. In reality, psychologically, you’ll end up buying these products to ensure you don’t miss out.

6. Social Proof

The principle of social proof states that we determine what is correct, whether a behaviour or a belief, by finding out what other people think is right. This principle applies especially when we’re not sure about what defines correct behaviour. This principle works best and is seen in our daily lives. If you walk past shops, especially restaurants. If you see a restaurant full of customers, you’re more likely to go there than the restaurant down the road with one customer.

Reward, Threat, Expertise, Liking, Scarcity and Social Proof are the foundation of persuasive brand experiences.

By using these models, it can provide a competitive advantage that can lead to new and fresh opportunities to engage consumers in relevant brand experience and brand interaction without losing persuasiveness.

At Bordwalk, we specialise in utilising the six principles in creating award-winning Brand Experiences people love.

Get in touch with us and see how we can best help your brand persuade new customers.

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